Welcome to FUCKED BY VIRGIN; this small archive of (one-sided but lachrymosal) correspondence has been set up by a disgruntled former customer of this bunch of cowboys. Shortly after buying my first computer in November 1990, I went on-line with CIX, which was expensive, and later onto the then still fairly nascent Internet, via Demon. I was with this outfit for ten years, which was run by entrepreneur Clive Stanford, and I had no complaints at all. It appears to have been a fairly hands on sort of business; on one occasion Stanford sent a message to all the users of a particular group (either an e-mail or a group message) asking us politely to tone down the somewhat heated correspondence on a subject that I no longer remember.
Sadly, when Demon was taken over by a much larger outfit, an all too typical phenomenon occurred; although the helpline was still reasonably good, the company began to treat most of its customers like the little people it knew we were. Because of this, and because of the enormous amount of spam I was beginning to receive (that was getting past the Demon filters) I changed to NTLWorld when I upgraded to broadband. This company was not so good; you couldn’t send it an e-mail for fuck sake (I can’t be the only person in the world who detests these on-line forms), and the helpline was nothing like as good. The situation deteriorated when NTL was taken over by Virgin, but I had no idea just how bad it would get until I had a real technical problem. This correspondence relates what the company did - or rather what it didn’t do - when this occurred. Then, after I ditched them, they had the audacity to threaten to sue me for money they owed me!
At one point, as the reader will see, I visited the Virgin Megastore in Central London where the staff tried to be helpful. One of them asked me if I would like to sign the complaints book, which I did, and to my horror I saw it contained literally hundreds of similar complaints. Bear in mind that these were only from people who had visited this one store and had asked (or more likely been asked by exasperated counter staff) to make their presence felt. This procedure doesn’t appear to have done any good at all, certainly it didn’t in my case.
The “inspiration” for this archive was a mailshot I received in January 2010. Signed by Richard Branson himself, it tells you what you can expect if you sign up with Virgin for their broadband service. This archive tells you not what he hopes (probably in all sincerity) you will get, but what you will actually get.
I set up the FuckedByVirgin archive on January 9, 2010 with this lengthy introductory page that included a photograph of Richard Branson, and six other pages with documents.
These were number sequentially in alphabetically order. Today, I have added 6 more.
These documents were scanned piecemeal along with many other unrelated documents over a period of more than two years. If I had been methodical I would have collated and published them altogether, but this albeit painful chapter in my life was far from my highest priority, so it is only in the past few days that I have finally got round to it.
The six documents published here originally were numbered chronologically; in order to preserve this sequence I would have to renumber the entire archive, which would mean deleting and re-uploading files, an inordinate amount of hassle and one that would serve no meaningful purpose, so I have simply inserted them into the index and and linked all the files together.
There are two letters dated May 29, 2007, so they are listed in alphabetical order.
I have probably one or two more documents somewhere which have not been scanned, but what the reader sees here is more than enough to give him the flavour - or rather the stench - of this particular company. And that notwithstanding the fragrant image of its charismatic founder.
January 25, 2011